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April Mason, President, Violet PR

by | Sep 21, 2019

April Mason, President, Violet PRLength of PR career (so far): 24 years!

Your most memorable campaign: It would have to be the “America’s #1 Wired City” campaign we did for Tacoma, Washington, a city that was known more for its unpleasant “aroma” than for tech in the late 1990s. All that changed when the city invested in its telecom infrastructure and began to attract hundreds of dot com companies priced out of Seattle. I was the lead AE on the account, and it was my first time working with top tier news outlets like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Inc. magazine, the Associated Press and more; ultimately, we won a PRSA Silver Anvil award for the campaign; it actually changed the way the city’s residents felt about the community!

Most poignant professional moment: When our four-person agency won four awards in a range of categories (B2B, social media, consumer) at the PRSA NJ ceremony in June 2019. We actually tied for most awards won that night by any NJ agency, putting us on the map for the first time!

Biggest complaint about social media: The “least common denominator” (most shocking post) often wins.

Best thing about working at your agency: The opportunity to be creative with no rules or “cookie cutter” process. Because we are small, we get to come up with a unique program for every client.

Most misunderstood thing about PR: It’s not all glamour and parties like the character Samantha on the HBO series Sex in the City!  People that want to work in this profession must have a range of skills, including of course people skills, but also writing, research, technology, an understanding of the news gathering process and the ability to work at lightning speed!

What got you interested in a PR career? I’ve always loved reading books, and have been a lifelong news junkie: my friends in college teased me for reading Newsweek cover to cover every week. I also love writing and became a writing tutor to make extra money in college. My immediate family is full of sales people—so I naturally was drawn to marketing—but working in PR enabled me to use more of my talents.

Most interesting thing about your job: The variety and access to business, government and media executives across industries and geographies. I love getting to hear from experts about the latest trends (whether it’s in tech, aviation, city development or sustainability) and connecting them with top tier media!

Your nightmare client in 3 words: Unappreciative. Unresponsive. Cheap.

Best advice to a PR student: Read, think and write as much as possible while in school! Be curious! Challenge yourself to explore different viewpoints and read / analyze texts from many genres. Spend a semester abroad. Follow current events and read the news every day. Stay up to date with social media trends, and develop your technology skills (including photo / video editing). Secure as many internships as possible to gain real-world experience and make connections.

What do you read daily? New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, The Atlantic, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, and Patch (for local news). I usually check the headlines on Google News several times throughout the day. I also regularly listen to podcasts including the NYT’s The Daily!

Favorite way to de-stress: Spending time at the beach!

The moment you realized PR is more fun than you thought it would be: My first week on the job I got to draft a news release, “man” a trade show booth, and monitor news coverage about Kansas City’s “smart city” campaign. I loved the variety and fast pace, meeting top executives, and being “in the know” about city news. I realized I found my calling.

Worst PR crisis in the news this year so far: I would say a tie between Boeing and how they mishandled the 737 max jet explosions, and Purdue Pharma (and the Sackler family’s) responsibility / cover up of its role in the opioid epidemic.

Brand that does the best PR: The best campaigns today inspire action: I’m super impressed with the #NeverAgain movement supporting March for our Lives, started by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students in Parkland just a few days after the mass shooting.

Favorite non-work hobby: Visiting new restaurants, bars, galleries (especially in NYC) with friends

Last book you readChasing Hillary by Amy Chozick (this was my favorite of all the 2016 campaign books)

Cocktail of choice: Gin & tonic

Favorite movie this yearOn the Basis of Sex (story of Ruth Bader Ginsberg)

Your first “real” job: PR Coordinator / Kansas City Area Development Council

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